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Wanda Fish Unveils Cultivated Bluefin Tuna Toro Sashimi

Courtesy of -Wanda Fish by Noam Preisman
Courtesy of -Wanda Fish by Noam Preisman

Cell-based seafood startup Wanda Fish has unveiled its first cultivated bluefin tuna toro sashimi. This innovative product addresses the growing demand for bluefin tuna by providing a pollution-free, quality-consistent, and sustainable supply of this highly sought-after fish. The unveiling marks a significant milestone in the journey towards sustainable seafood solutions, setting a new standard in the industry.

Toro sashimi, derived from the underbelly of the bluefin tuna, is renowned for its high-fat content, particularly rich in omega-3 fatty acids. This gives it a unique buttery sensation, making it the most tender and desired part of the fish. Wanda Fish’s cell-cultivated sashimi mirrors the sensory characteristics of wild-sourced toro sashimi, offering comparable nutritional richness, especially in terms of protein and omega-3 content.

Innovation in Fat Formation Technology

Wanda Fish’s approach combines the cellular mass of muscle and fat, developed from the bluefin tuna’s own cells, with a plant-based matrix. This unique combination results in a 3D filet that captures the essence of traditional toro sashimi. The company's patent-pending technology induces native fat formation in bluefin tuna cells, and their whole-cut downstream manufacturing process employs a rapid, low-cost, and scalable production method. This innovative technique ensures that the cultivated fish not only has a velvety texture but also retains its rich flavor and essential nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids.

Daphna Heffetz, Ph.D., co-founder and CEO of Wanda Fish, highlights the importance of achieving the same level of fat marbling as real bluefin toro sashimi to replicate the look and mouthfeel of traditional products. "Reaching this milestone demonstrates Wanda Fish’s ability to bring to market a whole-cut bluefin tuna toro filet without harming the ocean or diminishing the population of wild fish. The product is sustainable, and of course free of microplastics, mercury, and other chemical toxins all-too-commonly found in wild catch," she states.

"Reaching this milestone demonstrates Wanda Fish’s ability to bring to market a whole-cut bluefin tuna toro filet without harming the ocean or diminishing the population of wild fish. The product is sustainable, and of course free of microplastics, mercury, and other chemical toxins all-too-commonly found in wild catch" Daphna Heffetz, Ph.D., co-founder and CEO

A Sustainable Solution for the Future

The bluefin tuna is considered the pinnacle of tuna species, prized for its taste and texture. However, overfishing and illegal fishing have led to strict fishing quotas and high market prices. Cultivated bluefin tuna presents a viable solution to these challenges, offering a sustainable and ethical alternative without compromising on quality.

Wanda Fish’s cultivated bluefin tuna toro sashimi stands out in the cultivated food industry because it does not require cooking or any artificial additives. By using multiple bluefin tuna cells to create both muscle and fat, and incorporating a plant-based 3D design, Wanda Fish captures the essence of a raw fish fillet without preservatives, artificial additives, or GMOs. "Our prototype is unique in the cultivated food industry, as there is no cooking or panning of the product," explains Malkiel Cohen, Ph.D., VP of R&D at Wanda Fish.

The introduction of cultivated bluefin tuna is not only a boon for environmental sustainability but also makes strong business sense. Bluefin tuna is in high demand, and there are limited alternatives that match its taste and texture. This high demand, coupled with the innovative production process, positions cultivated bluefin tuna at an ideal price point and distribution model. Yaron Sfadyah, VP of Business Development & Marketing for Wanda Fish, points out that cultivated bluefin tuna is one of those rare food products that makes good business sense due to its high demand and premium pricing.

Wanda Fish’s scalable platform for producing cultivated bluefin tuna enhances its potential to reach price parity with traditionally raised bluefins, accelerating its journey to the marketplace and maximizing profit margins.

"Our scalable platform for producing this premium product raises its potential to reach price parity with traditionally raised bluefins, speed its journey to the marketplace, and maximize profit margins," adds Heffetz.
Courtesy of Wanda Fish
Courtesy of Wanda Fish

Targeting High-End Markets

Initially, Wanda Fish plans to introduce its cultivated tuna in the high-end food service sector, with a focus on Japanese cuisine where sushi and sashimi are traditional staples. This strategic focus on bluefin tuna was driven by market needs rather than technology, reflecting the significant demand for this premium product.

Since its inception in 2021, Wanda Fish has secured a total of USD 10 million in investment. In October, the company announced its seed round of USD 7.1 million, led by AquaSpark and joined by additional investors such as Strauss Group’s The Kitchen Hub, Peregrine Ventures, PICO Venture Partners, MOREVC, and CPT Capital Ventures.

With the help of disruptive technologies, Wanda Fish is spearheading a more sustainable future for ocean seafood. They produce a variety of whole-cut cultivated premium fish filets outside of the ocean, ensuring a sustainable and ethical seafood supply. The company is led by a highly skilled multidisciplinary team, including co-founder and CEO Daphna Heffetz, Ph.D., who has over 20 years of experience in biotechnology; Malkiel Cohen, Ph.D., VP of R&D, an expert in stem cell technology and genomic engineering; and Yaron Sfadyah, LLB, VP of Business Development, who brings over a decade of global marketing and business development experience.

Collaborations and Expert Partnerships

Wanda Fish collaborates closely with David Kaplan, Ph.D., a world-leading authority on cellular agriculture, under an exclusive agreement with Tufts University in Boston. The company also benefits from the expertise of Maarten Geraets, who has joined as a commercial advisory board member. Geraets brings decades of food industry experience from his time at Nestlé SA and most recently at Thai Union, PLC, where he led the alternative protein business.

The unveiling of Wanda Fish’s cultivated bluefin tuna toro sashimi represents a significant advancement in the field of cell-based seafood. By addressing the demand for bluefin tuna with a sustainable, pollution-free, and quality-consistent supply, Wanda Fish is paving the way for a more ethical and environmentally friendly future in seafood consumption. Their innovative approach to fat formation and whole-cut manufacturing sets a new standard in the industry, offering a viable alternative to overfished and environmentally detrimental wild-caught tuna.

As Wanda Fish continues to innovate and expand its market presence, the potential for cultivated seafood to become a mainstream option grows. This breakthrough not only promises to alleviate the pressure on wild fish populations but also provides consumers with a high-quality, sustainable choice. The partnership with skilled chefs and the focus on maintaining traditional sensory features ensure that the cultivated bluefin tuna toro sashimi is indistinguishable from its wild counterpart, both in taste and nutritional value.

Through strategic partnerships, cutting-edge technology, and a commitment to sustainability, Wanda Fish is leading the charge towards a future where delicious, premium seafood can be enjoyed without compromising the health of our oceans.


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